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Take a leaf out of the Bible

Title: Take A Leaf Out Of The Bible
Artwork by: Bonny (@lovetheark)
Description: Have you ever noticed how often plants are mentioned in the Bible? This project takes a deeper look into the significance of some of the plants recorded in the Bible. The next time you come across one of these plants, may it serve as a reminder of the truths we can learn from different scenes in the Bible.

 

Fig Leaf

Adam and Eve gave in to temptation and disobeyed God’s instructions in the Garden of Eden. Their eyes were opened to sin and in their shame, they used fig leaves to cover their nakedness. The perfect love relationship between God and man was broken.

‘But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”’ (Genesis 3:9). Despite their disobedience and the alienation they experienced with God after that, He sought them out and clothed them with garments of skin (Genesis 3:21).

In the same fashion, God has provided us with a covering through Jesus Christ. When we put our faith in Him, we stand justified and will never be put to shame (Romans 10:11).

 

Palm Branch

During the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, a massive crowd had spread palm branches on the road as they praised God and welcomed “King Jesus”. They thought that He would be the one to overthrow the Roman rule and deliver them from their oppression.

But today, we know that Jesus came to fulfill the Scripture—to deliver us from our sin through His death and give us eternal life by His resurrection. And He will come again to restore everything and declare His Kingship over all the earth.

As believers today with full knowledge of the true identity of Christ, do we anticipate His second coming with the same longing and joy?

 

Mustard Seed

Many of us worry that our faith seems too small, doubting that God acknowledges it. So we try means and ways to grow our faith, hoping that God would recognize it somehow.

However, our faith does not thrive when we focus on how much faith we have; it thrives when we focus on the object of our faith—Our Almighty God.

Even with faith as small as a mustard seed, He can accomplish His great purposes through us. Our faith is crucial not because it is great, but because He is. No matter how insufficient we think our faith is, let’s keep on praying, knowing that He hears our prayers.

 

Wheat

“Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds” (John 12:23-24).

Using an allegory that foreshadowed His death, resurrection and salvation plan, Jesus likened His body to a kernel of wheat that dies and produces a great harvest. In His grace and mercy displayed through His death, His sacrifice gives eternal life to all who believes in Him.

We can embrace the new and abundant life we now have in Christ. But this includes denying ourselves as we choose to follow Him. Self-denial is no easy task. No matter how hard it may be, may we always choose to live a life that bears fruit and honors Him.

 

 

Olive Branch

On the night before Jesus’ crucifixion, He went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. The word “Gethsemane” means “place of the olive press”—and that perfectly encapsulates the suffering that Christ had to endure for our sake.

May we always remember that our salvation came at the cost of Christ’s suffering, and respond with worship that is rooted in gratitude.

 

 

Wildflower

“Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith!” (Luke 12:27-28)

God provides for the wildflowers and grass of the field much more than Solomon, Israel’s wealthiest king, could provide for himself. Likewise, He provides for His people—and much more!

Because of His complete knowledge of us and His faithful provision, we do not have to worry about our needs or what lies ahead of us. In seeking God’s Kingdom first, let us give of our time, possessions and talents generously and joyfully because in Him, we lack nothing (Psalm 23:1).

 

10 Popular Bible Verses In Illustrations

Title: 10 Popular Bible Verses In Illustrations
Artwork by: Ross Boone (@rossboone)
Description: Think you know what these verses mean? These images provide a fresh spin to these familiar verses, prompting us to look deeper and uncover the layers of meaning in the verses.

 

Sometimes we must look closely to see how Christ has removed death’s sting.

More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. (1 Corinthians 15:15)

 

What does it look like to be both salt poured into the world and light bearing God’s glory to the world?

You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:13-16)

 

The human heart is held firmly by the strong talons of the hawk. If the hawk is awakened before the right time, her claws will crush the heart. But if she is awakened when ready, she will soar high with it. Be careful with the power of love.

Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires. (Song of Solomon 8:4)

 

God’s abundance and peace can surround us even when the things of the world threaten to take them away from us.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. (Psalm 23:5)

 

The tongue is compared to a ship’s rudder, a spark that can set a forest ablaze and an untamed animal full of poison.

But no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. (James 3:8)

 

We are reminded that though our earthly journey is hard, those who wait upon the Lord will be strengthened to run and not grow weary.

but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:31)

 

This intertwines three images of the “spirit” presented in the Bible: the spirit as fruit, as a dove, and as a tongue of fire.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)

and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased. (Luke 3:22)

They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. (Acts 2:3)

 

We may feel all alone under an empty sky but we are still in the center of God’s eye. We may feel like a candle that is losing its glow but we are the flame that God has put in this world to shine His light. And His hands are always holding us even when our candle has burnt out completely.

even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. (Psalm 139:12)

 

Even when we are broken, God can spring new life within us. This is the life that leads us to a new and perfect heavenly city.

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” (Revelation 21:5)

 

When our hearts become dirty and ashen, God’s Spirit can wash us clean and bring forth new life that blooms for the world to see.

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. (Psalm 51:10)

 

 

Hosanna Revival: Painting on Bibles

Title: Hosanna Revival: Painting on Bibles
Artwork by: Katie Guiliano (@hosannarevival)
Description: I used to live a life with no purpose, carrying the weight of my life on my own shoulders. I didn’t know the truth of the price the Jesus paid so I could live in freedom. I was so bound by the things that I wanted to do and accomplish. My identity was influenced by things outside of God’s truth and promises.

Moving forward, I discovered that my identity is not found in the things I accomplish or who the world tells me to be. The more time I spent searching God’s Word, the more I *discovered* who He says I am and who I am meant to be. I am no longer a failure, but victorious in Jesus (Deuteronomy 20:4. I am no longer not good enough, but loved, pursued, and intentionally made (Psalm 139). I am no longer purposeless, but set on a mission to expand God’s kingdom (Matthew 28:19).

Hosanna Revival was created out of a simple idea, to make the outside of a Bible beautiful. However, I know the power of the Bible will never lie with my artwork, but rather with the words inside. My prayer and hope is to excite people about the word of God, and to lead them to engage with scripture. For that reason, I will continue to faithfully respond to God’s call in what I do day by day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

How I Discovered the Key to Hearing God’s Voice

“God told me to…”

All my life as a Christian, I’ve heard people around me use those words. People I looked up to would recount testimonies of how God had dramatically changed the course of their lives through an audible voice. My peers would discuss how they regularly heard God speak to them and direct their daily decisions.

Personally, I’d never experienced anything remotely close to it. And it made me jealous. After all, if the Creator of the universe was going around talking with my friends, I wanted to be in on that conversation.

But it wasn’t just the novelty of hearing the voice of God, it seemed imperative to Christian living that I heard from God. I mean, that was the way that my friends seemed to make decisions—whether they were life-changing decisions or mundane ones. And if I wasn’t hearing God speak to me, who knows what kind of implications my uninformed decisions could have?

Did I pick the wrong university course, setting me off on a path down the wrong career choice? Was I wearing the wrong clothes, ones that wouldn’t grab the attention of that special someone God had been saving me for? Was I missing out on divine appointments?

I was desperate for these same experiences that so many other Christians were having. I’d read books about it, spent what seemed like ages straining away in a dark room, attended altar call after altar call, in the hope that I would finally hear God’s voice.

Then one day, it happened. I’d just started university and decided to check out the campus Christian fellowship. After attending a few sessions of their weekly meetings, one of the staff workers, Joel, asked me if I’d like to meet with him to read the Bible over a meal.

And that’s when I finally heard God speaking to me—clearly and surely, there was no doubt that it was Him.

It seemed so ridiculous that I hadn’t realized it, but the key to hearing God speak had been in front of me the entire time. That day, as Joel and I opened our Bibles and read Paul’s letter to the Colossians together, we weren’t just reading lifeless words on a page. On the contrary, the living God was speaking to us through it.

We studied the Bible in-depth, thinking hard about what Paul had been trying to convey to the Colossian church, and how each verse in the letter supported this purpose—to remind them of the supremacy and ultimate sufficiency of Jesus, and convict them that there was nothing else a Christian needed to be right before Him. Two thousand years ago, God was speaking through Paul to the Colossian church, and as we worked to understand what He was saying then, He was also speaking that same message to us.

I realized then that hearing God speak is about opening His Word and seeing what He had written there for us.

The fact is that as I’d strived to hear God speak, I’d subconsciously relegated the Bible to a lower level than other ways of knowing Him, such as hearing an audible voice. But while I might not have heard the audible voice like my friends may have, I’ve discovered that hearing God speak through the Bible is powerful.

For one, it’s the inspired word of God. Though the Bible was written by human authors, it was God who was doing the work, speaking through the authors. This means that when Paul was writing to the Colossian church to remind them of a certain truth, it was God who was speaking through Paul to them. That same God is speaking through the Word to us today.

Furthermore, it gives me a certainty about my faith. Throughout my time of seeking to hear God’s voice, there were many times when I thought that I might have finally heard Him speak. “What’s that, God?” I would say as I strained to concentrate on what that voice in my head was saying, “You want me to go to that restaurant today?”

The truth is that I could never truly be sure if that really was God. But as I read the Bible and study it, I can be 100 percent sure that it is the Creator of the universe speaking to me. And with that comes a deep certainty and a firm foundation. It means that I can truly be convicted and have the courage to make hard decisions, knowing for sure that my actions will be pleasing to God.

And as I discovered the riches that were waiting to be unearthed in the Bible, my Christian walk grew in stability and maturity. I could never question whether God wanted me to do something because I could read it clearly in the Bible. The state of my relationship with God was no longer contingent on experiences, but instead it was rooted in the convictions that the Holy Spirit was building in my heart from what I was reading.

I’m convinced that though extra-biblical communication with God might exist, it cannot replace or even come as close in importance as hearing God speak to us through the Bible. As John Piper, a Christian theologian, said, “Something is incredibly wrong when the words we hear outside Scripture are more powerful and more affecting to us than the inspired word of God.” After all, if we’re wondering what God wants to say to us, shouldn’t we start with what He has purposefully put together for our instruction?

And sure, I may not have specific guidance about my daily life in the same way that some of my friends might have. But by hearing what God has to say through the Bible, I become more familiar with His character, and this equips me to make daily decisions that I know will be in line with what He has instructed us to do.

For example, when deciding if I should take a part-time job while I’m still at university, I consider what He said to the Thessalonians in 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12, to be responsible and not be a burden to others in the Church. However, I also take into account what the mission of disciples are—to spread the Gospel and encourage my brothers and sisters in Christ; will having a part-time job still allow me to accomplish these things?

So today I no longer envy or desire the experiences that my friends have, because I know that each day when I open my Bible, God is speaking to me. It’s undeniable, clear, and amazing. I know for sure that these are the words of the living God, who holds the universe in the palm of His hands.